iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Linking deadwood traits with saproxylic invertebrates and fungi in European forests - a review

Francesco Parisi (1-2)   , Silvia Pioli (3-4), Fabio Lombardi (5), Giulia Fravolini (2), Marco Marchetti (2), Roberto Tognetti (1-4)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 11, Issue 3, Pages 423-436 (2018)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2670-011
Published: Jun 18, 2018 - Copyright © 2018 SISEF

Review Papers

Deadwood is a substantial component of forests playing a central role in many ecosystem processes. It provides habitats for a multitude of wood-dependent organisms, maintaining the ecosystem health and reducing the effect of natural disturbances. Deadwood is recognized as an indicator of local species diversity and contributes to the global carbon pools and nutrient cycles. Despite its importance, how saproxylic communities respond to deadwood dynamics across multiple spatial and temporal scales is still not clear. With the present review, we aim to summarize the effects of deadwood characteristics on the diversity and composition of saproxylic insects and fungi, with focus on European forests. We also discuss the influence of other biotic and abiotic components that indirectly affect these communities by altering wood continuity and variety. Niche differentiation is the main ecological driver of saproxylic organisms, as the presence of multiple microhabitats supports differently specialized taxa. The assemblage and richness of these saproxylic communities within forest ecosystems can be considered as indicators of climate-smart forestry trajectories. This aspect deserves to be regarded as a major target in sustainable forest management plans, especially in mountain areas, where the conservation of threatened species and the promotion of biodiverse forests are considered a priority.


Deadwood Accumulation, Deadwood Decomposition, Saproxylic Insects, Saproxylic Fungi, European Forests, Conservation-oriented Forestry

Authors’ address

Francesco Parisi
Roberto Tognetti
Dipartimento Agricoltura, Ambiente e Alimenti, Università degli Studi del Molise, v. F. De Sanctis, I-86100 Campobasso (Italy)
Francesco Parisi
Giulia Fravolini
Marco Marchetti
Dipartimento Bioscienze e Territorio, Università degli Studi del Molise, c.da Fonte Lappone, I-86090 Pesche, Isernia (Italy)
Silvia Pioli
Libera Università di Bolzano, p.za Università 5, I-39100 Bolzano (Italy)
Silvia Pioli
Roberto Tognetti
The EFI Project Centre on Mountain Forests (MOUNTFOR), Edmund Mach Foundation, v. E. Mach 1, I-38010 San Michele all’Adige, Trento (Italy)
Fabio Lombardi
Dipartimento di Agraria, Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, loc. Feo di Vito, I-89122 Reggio Calabria (Italy)

Corresponding author

Francesco Parisi


Parisi F, Pioli S, Lombardi F, Fravolini G, Marchetti M, Tognetti R (2018). Linking deadwood traits with saproxylic invertebrates and fungi in European forests - a review. iForest 11: 423-436. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2670-011

Academic Editor

Massimo Faccoli

Paper history

Received: Oct 27, 2017
Accepted: Apr 14, 2018

First online: Jun 18, 2018
Publication Date: Jun 30, 2018
Publication Time: 2.17 months

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